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Sara DeMaria '11

Lab Manager/Research Assistant

The Ohio State University Medical Center

Biology Major

An Ohio native, Sara DeMaria majored in biology and minored in art history
and environmental studies. Her Ford Fellowship and Honors project in
genetics/metagenomics led her to her current position at The Ohio State
University Medical Center in Columbus.

Why did you choose Knox?
Alongside [Former President] Roger Taylor, my great aunt and uncle graduated from this fine institution in the year nineteen hundred and sixty three. I toured campus to appease them and found I actually really liked the small size, liberal arts philosophy, and general atmosphere. A great financial aid package helped too.

What does liberal arts mean to you?
I’ve always thought of the phrase “liberal arts” as referencing a sort of interdisciplinary approach to, and idea of, education. I wasn’t stuck in a School of Biology within the College and forced to take a strictly outlined series of classes to obtain my degree. A “liberal arts” philosophy admits that there are many means to the same end and that an education is not complete unless it is a) diverse, and b) chosen (relatively) freely.

Describe your research at Knox.
Before I started Honors, I worked with Dr. Jones-Rhoades over the summer through a Ford Fellowship. I didn’t realize that I would be doing Honors at the time, but the three months I spent doing Ford Fellowship research was definitely my preparation. The Honors research itself took the full academic year, and a large portion of my daily life. My goal was to use two different methods to determine the diversity of dictyostelids (a.k.a. slime molds or social amoebas) in prairie and forest soils at the Green Oaks Biological Field Station. Even when I wasn’t actually in lab doing the work, thoughts of my Honors project wouldn’t get out of my head.

Where did your research lead you?
Well, I guess my research has led me to additional research. This time, though, it’s in “social neurochemistry” rather than molecular/microbiology. I am employed as a lab manager/research assistant under Dr. Baldwin Way at The Ohio State University Medical Center in Columbus. I think my work in Honors gave me the confidence and inspiration necessary to explore the larger world of scientific research. I do miss my amoebas, but it looks like I’ll be getting to know blood cells a whole heck of a lot better.